The English Defence League, a UK-based group responsible for violent anti-Muslim protests and whose members include football hooligans, has been invited to hold a “support rally” in Toronto next Tuesday. The EDL’s leader, Stephen Lennon, was charged with assaulting a police officer last November, but will speak to the rally remotely via the web. The controversial Jewish Defence League, classified as a “right-wing terrorist group” by the FBI in 2001, invited EDL supporters to rally at the Toronto Zionist Centre, based on their unconditional support for Israel and their militant stance against political Islam. Bernie Farber, CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress, expressed “disappointment that the JDL would support an organization whose record in the U.K. is one of violence and extremism.” While its supporters are typically described as being from working class districts of northern England with little interaction with diverse communities, the EDL says it welcomes all other faiths and ethnicities, as long as they are active in confronting Islam.
Looking for more?
Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.